J. Mater. Sci. Technol. ›› 2021, Vol. 60: 105-112.DOI: 10.1016/j.jmst.2020.05.020

• Research Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Multifunctional Ir-Ru alloy catalysts for reversal-tolerant anodes of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

Seung Woo Leea, Bongho Leea, Chaekyung Baika, Tae-Yang Kimb, Chanho Paka,b,*()   

  1. a Graduate Program of Energy Technology, School of Integrated Technology, Institute of Integrated Technology, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Republic of Korea
    b Research Institute for Solar and Sustainable Energies, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 61005, Republic of Korea
  • Received:2020-03-31 Revised:2020-05-20 Accepted:2020-05-25 Published:2021-01-10 Online:2021-01-22
  • Contact: Chanho Pak


To address the problem of fuel starvation in fuel-cell electric vehicles, which causes cell voltage reversal and results in cell failure when repeated continuously, we developed a reversal-tolerant anode (RTA) to promote water oxidation in preference to carbon corrosion. Graphitized carbon-supported Ir-Ru alloys with different compositions are employed as RTA catalysts in an acidic polyol solution and are shown to exhibit composition-dependent average crystallite sizes of < 5.33 nm. The adopted approach allows the generation of relatively well-dispersed Ir-Ru alloy nanoparticles on the carbon support without severe agglomeration. The activity of IrRu2/C for the hydrogen oxidation reaction is 1.10 times that of the state-of-the-art Pt/C catalyst. Cell reversal testing by simulation of fuel starvation reveals that the durability of IrRu2/C (~7 h) significantly exceeds that of the conventional Pt/C catalyst (~10 min) and is the highest value reported so far. Thus, the developed Ir-Ru alloy catalyst can be used to fabricate practical RTAs and replace Pt catalysts in the anodes of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.

Key words: Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, Polyol process, Reversal-tolerant anode, Oxygen evolution reaction, Hydrogen oxidation reaction